Thursday, July 3, 2008

Essentials - God (part 3)

Picking up from where we left off. The Bible reveals that God is triune in nature...

3. God is triune in nature. People looking on the outside might think this to be a contradiction with number one, but it isn't. The concept here is that God has revealed himself in three separate persons who all contain the same qualities because they are all God.

Before I give scriptural support let me try and illustrate what the trinity is. These are only illustrations to try and help us wrap our little minds around a incomprehensible concept. We has humans can be seen as being more than one person all at the same time. I am a husband with roles and responsibilities that differ from those I have as a father which in turn differ from those I have as a son. I am a husband, father and son. At times I operate as just a husband, or just a father, or just a son, but at other times I operate as all three together.

Another illustration involves an egg. An egg has three separate parts to it. It is the shell, white and yolk and yet it is consider one thing when all three are present. God is one God who has revealed himself in three separate persons. How do we know this?

The concept of the trinity didn't just develop overnight. It wasn't the idea of one man who decided to start teaching God was three personalities in one. A look at the Old Testament hints (some say screams) at the concept. In the New Testament it becomes obvious that the writers understood this concept. Today, those who study Scripture can't help but see it.

The concept of the trinity starts right in Genesis. If God is one god who has only revealed himself as one person then why does he refer to himself in the plural when creating man? Genesis 1:26-27 says "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." It is very interesting how God himself says "ours" and the writer of Genesis sums up the creation of man as being in "his" image.

By the way, who created everything? God or Jesus? John 1:1-3 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."

You see, these two verses themselves show us that God is comprised of different personalities. One scripture (Genesis) says God created everything and another (John) says all things were created through Jesus. Not only this, but God himself says "our image" and in John Jesus (the Word) is clearly identified as being separate from God and being God.

If you think those verses are a little vague just skip down to verse 14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus is God in the flesh. This is called the doctrine of incarnation. God became a man.

If there is any doubt the writer of Hebrews clearly demonstrates that Jesus is God and part of the triune nature of God. He points out that God himself said of Jesus "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever...thefore God, your God, has anointed you" (1:9) and "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands" (1:10).

Even Paul understood this as he wrote to the Phillipians encouraging them to be humble like Christ.
"...Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himeslf by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therfoer God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that i above every name, so that at the name of Jesus eveyr knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every toungue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Perhaps the best evidence of all is Jesus comparing himself to God. In John chapter 5 we find Jesus confronted for healing on the Sabbath. When asked why he was breaking the Sabbath Jesus says "My Father is working until now, and I am working." Now look at the next verse "This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

In John 8 Jesus once again has a confrontation with Jewish leaders concerning Abraham. Jesus said "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad...Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." What response did Jesus garner from the Jewish leaders? "So they picked up stone sto throw at him." Why would they want to stone Jesus? By the use of the phrase "I am" Jesus was identifying himself as God. The Jews new this and wanted to kill him for blasphemy.

One more passage serves to show us that Jesus knew he was God. In John 20 Thomas is confronted by Jesus. When Thomas realizes that it is Jesus he says "My Lord and my God!" How does Jesus respond? Does he rebuke Thomas for identifying him as God? He says "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Is there any doubt that Jesus and God are one in the same and yet separate? I don't expect any of us to fully grasp this truth. Nevertheless, this truth is found in Scripture.

Just as Jesus is identified with God so is the Holy Spirit. One incident serves as a great example of this. In Acts we find the early church doing some very unusual things. They were loving each other and living together in harmony. Many of them were making personal sacrifices and selling things such as property to make sure that everyone was being taken care of.

A couple named Ananias and Sapphira sold a peice of property and when they went to give the money to Peter they kept a portion of it. They lied to Peter and said that what they were presenting was all the money they got for the property. Listen to what Peter says to Ananias found in Acts chapter 5. "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land...You have not lied to men but to God."

Who did Ananais lie to? The Holy Spirit? God? How about both being the correct answer. Why? Because the Holy Spirit and God are one being who has revealed himself in three personalities.

In trying to keep this post from going any longer I encourage you to read what Jesus has to say about the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-16. Compare this to what he says about himself in Matthew 28:18-20 and John 14:18-20.

In conclusion:

God is one god who has revealed himself in three persons who are all of the same essence and yet are three separate personalities. God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with each personality serving a specific role.

For further study check out this site.


Adam Pastor said...

Greetings ythpstr1

Here is a repeat of some of my comments from In Essentials Unity - What are the Essentials?
which I believe are applicable to this blog as well.

I must question some of the things that you have classed as "essential"

For example, indeed it is essential to believe in GOD; however to then describe Him as
"God is triune in nature. ... that God has revealed himself in three separate persons who all contain the same qualities because they are all God."
is most definitely not scriptural.

That is, nowhere in Scripture is GOD described as triune.
Rather, GOD is ONE!
The Shema, Deut 6.4, which Jesus the Messiah described as the greatest commandment; does not accomodate a belief in a triune god.
Note the scribe's response to Jesus' usage of the Shema:
(Mark 12:32) And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

It ought to be obvious then that neither Jesus nor the scribe were trinitarian; so neither should the followers of Christ be!!

Jesus describes the Father as the only true GOD.
[John 17.3]
Therefore there is solely ONE Being, ONE Person, ONE Personality who is Almighty GOD, according to Scripture, and that is the Father.

(1 Cor 8:4) ... that there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, ...

So in regards to Genesis 1:26-27, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1, John 8, John 20, etc;
I sincerely recommend this video which deals with these verses:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

KingAzJay said...

I'm sorry but the very first verse of the Bible describes God as triune. I'm not going to go into a huge lecture here, the research has already been done, the original language has been gone over several times. I encourage anyone who would like to know more about this, to take the time and look some of the great information about this subject. I would personally start with Dr. Chuck Missler's work in "Learn the Bible in Twenty-four hours" it is in book form, audio form, and also a DVD. I would also strongly suggest to obtain a copy of his commentary on the book of Genesis. Those two resources alone would give anyone a huge jump start on this subject.

ythpstr1 said...

Well Adam, I expected a different response this time. I am a little disappointed. I can see where you are getting hung up though. The trinity is not three separate gods. The trinity is one God who has revealed himself in three personalities. From the Scripture I have given it is obvious that God has revealed himself in Scripture as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are the same God.

So when Jesus confirms there is one God in Mark 12:32 he wasn't lying. There is one God. This in no way disproves that the trinity is a concept found in Scripture. The flaw is to say there is only one personality who is God. Scripture obviously does not agree with this no matter how you want to rationalize it away.

Another very important thing to think about is if Jesus was just a man then there would be no way he could have substituted himself for our sins. The lamb sacrificed in the Old Testament, a hint at what God would eventually do, was supposed to be perfect without spot or blemish. This sacrifice was temporary. The only way our sins could be paid for is through the sacrifice of a perfect man. It is impossible for a man to be perfect, that is unless he is God in the flesh as revealed in John chapter 1. The only way we could be saved is through an incredible and unthinkable act of God. He became a man!!!

KingAzJay said...

Amen! Very well said.